Monday, 8 June 2015

Common Yellowthroat (Paruline masquée) and others

Hullett Marsh
Huron County, ON
05 June 2015

     My good friends John and Geraldine Sanderson have as part of their birding year, a day at Hullett Marsh and this year I was invited along. Joining us were Curtiss MacDonald and Bob Mundy and a fine group we made. The entire day was enjoyable from start to finish, with much good humour and camaraderie to supplement a fine day of nature observance. Miriam had already planned a weekend away at Niagara Falls with old friends from her high school days, but she regretted very much not being able to come along with us.
     Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas was, as might be expected at this time of year in a marshland setting, ubiquitous. 

     It is always thrilling, no matter how many times I have seen it, to observe males singing from an elevated perch. They throw their whole body into their wichety-wichety song, trembling and shuddering as though in ecstasy. 

     A Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus was perched high atop a snag in the distance, another indication of just how well this magnificent bird of prey has recovered from the dark days of organochlorine pesticides and wanton human persecution.

     Tree Swallows Tachycineta bicolor swooped and glided everywhere we travelled and many were nesting in the abundant nesting boxes provided for both Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis. Here is a female Tree Swallow poking her head out to survey the world.

     Birds were our main focus, but they were not of course the only attraction. There were many butterflies around including this Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta.

     The dramatic and beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus was not hard to spot.

     As has been noted in an earlier post this is the season for turtles to clamber out of the water and seek suitable ground in which to lay their eggs.
     We encountered Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina.......

....... and Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta marginata.

     They had obviously been laying for a while because several nests had already been discovered by racoons or other predators and the eggs eaten.

     Only a very small percentage of the eggs laid ever result in adult turtles. Many nests are destroyed before the eggs even hatch and when the hatchlings that survive the nesting stage make it to the water, there is an entire host of predators waiting to make a meal of them. Nature is evidently well-balanced, however, because there is a healthy population of both species.
     As mentioned at the beginning it was a wonderful day out, shared with like-minded people who were fine companions. To top it all off, we stopped at an old country store where Curtiss treated us to ice cream - a tradition we intend to hold him to long into the future!
     Thank you John and Geraldine for inviting me.


  1. Yellowthroats are fine looking birds..................

  2. Great post, I love the Yellowthroats! Beautiful Butterflies! Happy Tuesday!

  3. Beautiful images, David, I can imagine that you enjoyed that day.
    Gr Jan W

  4. Beautiful images, David.
    I like the swallows in the nest box.
    Butterflies are super.
    Really sorry that the eggs of the turtle are eaten.
    Best regards, Irma

  5. Hello David, wonderful to be able to enjoy such a special day among friends. Like Irma I love that Tree Swallow in the nestbox. Turtles we do not have them here exept the ones people drop in ponds and do a lot of damage to the local fauna.
    Glad you liked my latest blog.

  6. What a lovely post, David!
    The whole paruline family is delight and this Yellowthroat is no exception!
    I would have loved to hear it sing its head off putting on such a show!!
    Wonderful to see the swallow had adopted a nest box to breed!
    A pity the turtles have laid for predators, but that is what life is about on this planet...
    Many thanks for your incredible comments, what a sweet friend your are :)
    I hope Miriam enjoy here day out with her friends, many hugs to share with her!
    I bet you already have your mind into your suitcase.... :)

  7. The Yellowthroat sounds and looks as if it's an entertainment in its own right, David! The other wildlife looks pretty impressive too! A most enjoyable post - even if it does highlight some of the harsh aspects of nature.

    See you soon! - - - - - Richard

  8. Great post !! And fantastic pictures !!

  9. Beautiful images David, my favourites are the Common Yellowthroat, fantastic.

  10. Wonderful to see you all, from bird to turtle you have them nicely photographed.
    Greetings Tinie

  11. Fantastic images.
    That variety!!! .. Good work

  12. Great to see this Yellowthroat Davod. It is a beautiful bird to see! The Bald Eagle was your good eye! So nice to see the little tree swallow nest box in the opening :-))))) Beautiful butterflies such as the swallowtail. That I've never been in the picture. Beautiful turtles but sad that raccoons have eaten a lot of eggs!

  13. We of course don't have turtles in the UK just occasional visitors from the Atlantic which was ashore mainly in the SW and Ireland. I remember being so intrigued by your Snapping Turtles that I had a strong desire to pick one up to examine it closely. Until someone informed me that the "Snapping" meant just that and that I might lose a finger or two.


  14. In my land will not meet a turtle while walking :-))